Have You Ever Thrown Away Your Phone in a Fit of Frustration?

I’ve seen it happen a million times in movies. Fed up with work/love/undead sorcerers, our main character hurls his/her phone into a river/volcano/garbage bin. But do people really do this in real life? Have you?

The one time I threw a piece of tech in a fit of madness, it wasn’t a phone and I didn’t actually intend to destroy anything. But when I hurled that goddamn Netgear USB wireless router that NEVER WORKED across the room, I accidentally broke the glass in the door to my dining room. I was as surprised as you are! Who knew that stupid device could actually accomplish anything, let alone break glass?

So anyway, tell your friends here at Giz-have you ever tossed your phone away because of its crimes against you or humanity? What happened?

Photoshopperie by Ser Andrew Liszewski

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Apple reports $8.7 bn profit in Q3, stocks rise


has announced its financial results for the third quarter of the fiscal year 2017, with profit rising to $8.7 billion, nearly 12 per cent higher than in the same period of 2016.

The strong results announced on Tuesday send the share price of the tech company up by six per cent in after hours trading, Efe news reported.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said that the company is in its “third consecutive quarter of accelerating growth” and has achieved “an all-time quarterly record for Services revenue.”

During the third quarter, which ended on Monday, the California-based company generated net earnings per share of $1.67, compared to the $1.42 it had achieved between May and July 2016, when it earned a total of $7.79 billion.

Apple’s total revenue reached $45.4 billion in this quarter, representing a seven per cent increase over the same months of 2016, when it managed to raise $42.3 billion.

Much of the revenue came from iPhone sales, which, with 41 million units sold between May and June, contributed $24.8 billion to that figure.

The revenue from services, which include the company’s digital content and the Apple Pay application, among others, reached $7.26 billion, showing a 21 per cent jump over the third quarter of 2016, when it was $5.97 billion.

Apple currently has $261.5 billion in cash, 94 per cent of which are outside the US. This figure is 13 per cent higher than that reported at the end of May, when it announced that it had about $256 billion.


Tech Hasn’t Killed Books Yet

Image: Getty

For those unfamiliar, books are a collection of words that form some sort of coherent narrative, printed on paper and bound together. These objects are very much alive and well, according to
a new study by the Pew Research Center
, despite the fact that we live in an age where you can download the same information onto various pieces of technology. Wild.

Pew’s most recent study
“the share of Americans who have read a book in the last 12 months (73%) has remained largely unchanged since 2012,” when 74% of Americans had read a book in the past year. Amongst the people who said they read in 2016-Pew surveyed 1,520 Americans over the phone-65% had read a print book. Only 28% had read an ebook and 14% had listened to an audiobook. In 2012, the same percentage of people had read a print book, and 23% had read an ebook and 13% had listened to an audiobook. Not a significant change.

The study
also found
that only 6% of Americans exclusively read digital books. This means e-reader and tablet manufacturers have a
way to go if they want to convert more people over from print. As great as both tablets and e-readers can be, it’s good that people still prefer print. Staring at screens-as enticingly beautiful as they are-
isn’t great

for your eyes (although it won’t
permanently damage

your vision). Plus, books are nice and cool and feel good to hold in your hands.…

The bad news is you can’t blame your lack of book deal on the fact that nobody buys ’em anymore. Sorry babe.

Pew Research Center


Google’s Rajan Anandan is now IAMAI Chairman

Rajan Anandan

, Vice-President, South East Asia and India, Google, is the new Chairman of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a statement said here on Thursday.

Anandan takes over from Kunal Shah, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, FreeCharge.

Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip, is the new Vice Chairman of IAMAI.

(Image Credits: ET)


This Toy-Stealing Jerk Robot Will Teach Other Bots How to Hold Things

Photo: Carnegie Mellon University

When picking an object up, it takes humans a mere instant to know if they’ve grasped it properly, or if they need to adjust their grip so it’s more secure. Teaching robots how to properly pick something is a monumental task that might actually get a little easier-
by making it harder to do

The easiest way to teach a robot how to pick something is to simply let it learn to pick up object after object by itself, trying different techniques and approaches each time to successfully move it from one location to another. After thousands of hours of this repetitive task, the software powering a robot can eventually learn how to reliably pick something up-but that doesn’t necessarily mean the grip it’s using is solid. Teaching robots to pick things up securely is important will help reduce the risk of something getting dropped, which could be both expensive and dangerous in a factory setting.


But how does a robot know when it has a secure grip on something? To help teach our future overlords the proper way to grasp objects, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are using a novel approach: as one robot attempts to pick something up, a second robot is working to snatch the same object away.

While one robot is tasked with picking up an object, its evil twin is programmed to try and grab it. If it can easily do so, more often than not, it means the way the first robot grasped the object wasn’t properly secure or stable. Through repetition, both robots are trying to get better and better at the job they’ve been programmed to do, but ultimately the approach will help teach robots the difference between a stable and unstable grasp on an object.

Photo: Carnegie Mellon University

The research, presented at the 2017 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) last week, also demonstrates how single robots can be programmed to make the grasping challenge even harder. Once an item has been picked up, the robot can shake it vigorously to test if its grip was secure. Using these “adversarial” techniques, as they’re called, can not only improve a robot’s ability to grasp items, it can also accelerate the entire learning process, which saves time and money. Most importantly, though, this research ensures the robots of the future will end up with a solid, confident handshake.


IEEE Spectrum


Out of nowhere, Kodak releases a smartphone with ancient hardware

If there was a company that has been trying to catch up to the present, it is Kodak. The iconic maker of film cameras has been trying to reinvent itself for sometime to stay relevant. To that end, Kodak thought of doing what everyone is doing. The company launched a smartphone. Behold! The Kodak Ektra.

The phone launched in India for a price of Rs 19,990 and will be a Flipkart exclusive available from 18th July from 4 PM. It was
already available
in US and Europe since last year.

The Kodak branding means the phone is centered around photography. At the heart of the phone is a 21-megapixel fast focus camera with f/2.0 aperture. On the front is a 13-megapixel front camera with f/2.2 aperture and phase detection autofocus.

The phone also sports a custom camera app which comes with a SLR-style scene selection dial that can be controlled using haptic touch. The scenes available for selection include HDR, Landscape, Portrait, Macro, Bokeh, Night-time, Panorama and a smart Auto mode. There is also a manual mode to adjust the aperture, ISO, focus, white balance and shutter speed. There is also support for RAW images.

The camera on the phone also uses ARCSOFT Night Shot technology to apparently take high quality low-light shots. This is achieved by the use of Kodak-certified lens coating that enables more light to reach the sensor without increasing ISO noise, brightening underexposed areas and stabilising blur from slow shutter speeds. Dynamic Focus and Object Tracking give additional control over the camera focus while crisp, clear images are guaranteed through automatic Image Noise Reduction features, reducing the need for extensive post-editing.

On the body of the phone is a dedicated shutter button mimicking the horizontal style of traditional cameras. The device also features a Super 8 app, providing professional effects reminiscent of Kodak’s iconic Super 8 film stocks.

The phone is powered by a 10-core processor by MediaTek coupled with 3GB of RAM and runs on, wait for it, Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The phone is al
so comes
with the Snapseed app
editing photos on the go. The phone has 32GB of inbuilt memory which can expanded. The package is powered by a 3,000mAh battery with USB 3.0 Type-C fast charging.


What Should We Reboot Next?

Everything old is new again, and it seems like a reboot is announced near-daily out of Hollywood. Do you have a favorite property that deserves to come back from the dead?

Two of my favorite television shows,
Twin Peaks
The X-Files
, are slated to return. A new
Star Wars
is on the horizon. Even properties that were moderately popular in their day, like
Gilmore Girls,
can gain a wider audience through online distribution and be resurrected, as
announced this week

If you could give any entertainment property a new life-be it with a home like Netflix or a big-screen release-what would you choose?


What’s The Worst Movie Ever Made About Technology?

Today we looked at how
Steve Jobs
flopped at the box office
-but it’s hardly a disaster of filmmaking. What’s the worst movie made with tech as a major plot element?

By standards of Good Movies,
Steve Jobs
has a lot going for it: snappy, Aaron Sorkin-rich dialogue, excellent acting from a top-notch cast, sleek production values. I may take issue with the sappy ending, but
Steve Jobs
is not a bad film about technology.

A bad film about technology is 1995’s
The Net
, starring Sandra Bullock as a systems analyst out to expose dastardly cybervillains. You don’t remember
The Net
? A “cyber action thriller” made in the early days of online, the movie

played on all our worst fears about the scary newfangled Internet. There are cyberterrorists, conspiracies, erased identities, terribly important floppy disks, and Sandra ordering pizza online from Welcome to the future.

The Net
isn’t just laughable by today’s technological standards, it’s purposely fear-mongering about what awaits unwitting web users. “The absolute worst film ever about the Internet is the one whose brain trust couldn’t come up with a better title than
The Net
,” wrote PC World Magazine’s Christopher Null.

But there have been a lot of dumb cinematic spectacles with technology as a central theme, whether they’re starring moronic hackers or hackneyed robots. What’s the worst movie you can come up with?


NASA says no pending announcement on alien life

US space agency NASA said that it has no pending announcement regarding extraterrestrial life, following a wave of media reports that it was about to announce the evidence of alien life.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate, on Monday denied the reports andconfirmed that NASA scientists are still looking for proof of alien life, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Are we alone in the universe? While we do not know yet, we have missions moving forward that may help answer that fundamental question,” he tweeted.

The wave of media reports emerged after hacking group Anonymous posted a 12-minute video on YouTube, in which a man wearing a mask in a clear synthesized voice said that at a Congressional hearing in April, Zurbuchen had said: “Our civilization is on the verge of discovering evidence of alien life in the cosmos.”

“Taking into account all of the different activities and missions that are specifically searching for evidence of alien life we are on the verge of making one of the most profound and unprecedented discoveries in history,” the masked man quoted Zurbuchen as saying.

The video, which also touches on the latest discovery regarding Earth-size planets circling the star TRAPPIST-1 and several supposed UFO sightings, has so far been watched by more than 1 million viewers.


Google Says It Will Stop Scanning Your Emails to Serve Ads

Photo: Getty

Gmail is free, in part because Google has always scanned the contents of users’ inboxes in order to serve targeted ads. It’s a sleazy business model, but Google certainly isn’t alone: Most other free email services (and, hi, social media platforms) do the same thing.

But Google has finally decided to end the practice of scanning emails for advertising, according to a
blog post
published Friday by Google Cloud senior vice president Diane Greene.

The search giant’s stated reason for the change is simple: Google Cloud sells a collection of enterprise office products, called GSuite, and Greene


that paying customers were concerned that Google was mining their data for advertising. Even though Google has only scanned the emails of free Gmail accounts (and not those belonging to paying customers) the change needed to be made in order to promote trust.


“Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change,” wrote Greene in the blog post. “G Suite customers and free consumer Gmail users can remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount as we continue to innovate.”

This doesn’t mean ads are disappearing from Gmail altogether-free users will still see ads that are personalized based on data from Search and YouTube. Google also offers its users the choice to
opt out of this personalization

The change is a signal that Google might not need to rely so heavily on advertising dollars as it commercializes some of its products, like GSuite. It also erases one of the arguments against giving users a way to easily and seamlessly encrypt their email-something Google and other free email providers have resisted because it would prohibit them from scanning messages for profit.